I Spy: Why Successful E-Commerce Stores Keep a Close Eye on Design
By Sara Williams April 21, 2017
Your online store’s virtual presentation matters, and every design decision you make contributes to how customers perceive and interact with your store. (Newswire.net — April 21, 2017) — Imagine walking into a store only to find aisles of clutter, unboxed products, dim lighting, and no clear checkout station. What would you do? Probably turn on your heels and walk out again without making a purchase. The same principle applies for web-based stores. Your store’s virtual presentation matters, and every design decision that you make contributes to how customers perceive and interact with your store.
From entering your store’s home page for the first time to unboxing the products they (hopefully) ordered from your company, customers are evaluating your brand and your business. Keeping this in mind will help you make conscious design decisions that promote a smooth user experience and positive associations with your company.
Here are three areas in which successful e-commerce stores use design to their advantage.
Designing for User Experience
On average, over 69 percent of online carts are abandoned before completing checkout. Why? A poor, convoluted user design could be making the shopping process more complicated than it needs to be. Customers may bail out at the first sign of frustration, and can you blame them? It’s important that your online store prioritizes design that creates a user-friendly experience.
For instance, your homepage is a perfect opportunity to display all your store can offer and convey why customers should shop there over a competitor. Think of a good home page like the friendly greeter available to help every customer find exactly what they want and need. Hubspot recommends distinguishing your company by using “bold photography and punchy statements that can link to interior pages for more info.”
Promoting your unique selling proposition front and center on the home page is crucially important, but so is following it with an easy funnel for customers to navigate. Part of any solid user experience involves putting links where they need to be, using easy-to-read dropdown menus, and making the checkout process second-nature so customers can complete it from their computer, tablet, or phone.
On-Site Text and Photographs
When you’re building your business, it’s fun to flex your creative muscles. As you do so, keep a few ground rules in mind. As tempting as it may be to create a home page full of flourishing script and filtered photographs, you need to keep your customers at the forefront. As Smashing Magazine points out, one way to ensure uniformity and easy comprehension for users is to keep header, sub-header, and body copy style consistent across pages. You want to balance creative copy with readability.
Someday soon, technology might allow customers to interact with online products through virtual reality. For now, you must demonstrate why your products are awesome using only pictures and words. Your company’s website should follow these principles of good photographs to ensure that your customer feels confident enough about your products to convert:
-Surroundings: Think about your product’s surroundings. Should you use a sterile white background? Can you add any complementary colors or patterns to make it pop?
-Environment: How do the images on your website fit into the overall environment?
-Details: Show multiple angles and configurations with your photographs, and consider hover-to-zoom capabilities so customers can see texture. (Top enterprise e-commerce platforms work to support these high-quality, visual goals.)
-Demonstration: Products don’t exist in a vacuum; show your merchandise in use for added context. This will help shoppers envision how they would use your products.
Logo, Packaging, and Beyond
A whopping 52 percent of consumers are likely to make a repeat purchase from an online retailer that uses premium packaging. Your logo, packaging, and how they both tie into your overall brand strategy should be more than an afterthought. If you run a beauty business, consider packaging that sparkles, shines, or glows like your products. If you sell handcrafted items, use rustic (but heavy-duty) packaging and inserts to set a mood for your customers when they unbox your wares. Bonus: Customers are more likely to share these design-savvy packaging experiences on social media.
If your store can fuse eye-catching design with usability, you’ll reap the benefits from having the best of both worlds. Design for the customer first and foremost, and you’re well on your way to offering an online shopping experience that’s a pleasure to undertake.